Logjam continued for the third day in row in parliament as the belligerent Congress forced repeated adjournments in the Rajya Sabha, while they continued to protest in Lok Sabha over court order in the National Herald case.
As the Congress leaders shouted “vendetta” in both the Houses saying its leaders including Himachal Pradesh CM were being targeted by the government, party vice president Rahul Gandhi escalated the attack as he accused the PMO (Prime Minister’ Office) to be behind this.
“One hundred per cent political vendetta. Pure political vendetta coming out of PMO. It is their way of doing politics. Pure 100 per cent vendetta". I have full faith in judiciary. We will see at the end what comes out. Truth will come out," Gandhi told reporters in parliament complex.
The government and BJP responded with matching fire power. Cabinet minister Venkahiah Naidu said Congress did not believe in democracy but mobocracy. He said Congress was using the parliament to threaten judiciary. His deputy dared Rahul to prove the charges.
BJP followed the counter offensive by sending a party delegation to President Pranab Mukherjee asking for sacking of Virbhadra Singh for corruption charges, thus giving an impression if the current session too would go the previous washed out Monsoon session way.
If the Congress strategy was to create ruckus to give an impression that they were unfairly targeted by the Modi dispensation, the NDA government’s move was to isolate them in the house by asking other political parties to participate in debate in Lok Sabha. Barring Trinamool which was supporting the Congress, the other parties like Samajwadi Party, BJD, RJD, TRS, AIADMK, YSRCP besides BJP and its allies SAD, Shiv Sena and TDP participated in discussions amidst din.
Congress’ belligerence was visible in Lok Sabha as party chief Sonia Gandhi was seen directing her MPs to take on the government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the lower house during the question hour.
Sonia Gandhi, whose celebrated her 69 birthday on Wednesday, was wore bright purple sari and even sported a tilak on her forehead, was seen prompting Kharge when he got up to speak as was her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi. She was also talking animatedly with protesting MPs like Sushmita Deb who were in the well of the house.
Congress members shouted slogans like “Tanashahi Nahin Chalegi (Dictatorship will not be allowed)” and “Modi Sarkar Hosh Mein Aao (Modi government come to your senses)” in both houses.
As soon as the house met for the day, Congress leader of the House Mallikarjun Kharge explained the reasons for their protest saying two sets of laws were being used in the country – one against its CMs, the other against BJP Chief Ministers. Kharge cited corruption cases against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan, against charges their party levelled against BJP CMs like Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Vasundhra Raje.
"You are adopting the politics of revenge, repression and tyranny against opposition leaders. If people do not agree with you, then you try to harass them,” he said adding: "we are not against judiciary. We are protesting against your policies of repression."
IN Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad cited similar charges accusing the government of targeting opposition parties, including the Congress, by opening cases against them. Azad alleged the recent sudden transfer of the Enforcement Directorate chief was aimed only to "fix" the Opposition leaders with "false and irrelevant" cases, including the National Herald case.
Parliamentary Affairs Ministe Venkaiah Naidu countered the Congress charges. “This is not the system of parliament. A handful of 10-15 people are trying to dictate terms. Whatever the court has said, the government has no role in it...They are using the parliament to threaten the judiciary. This is against democratic norms. The are obstructing the progress of the country”.
Naidu said his party chief Amit Shah and also enquiries against Modi during the UPA tenure and accused Congress of trying to see that the government fails.
"A judicial order has come," he said, referring to the National Herald case. "You are giving a warning to judiciary through Parliament. This is not in national interest," Naidu added.